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Millennials are doing it for themselves

We look at what and where millennials are buying property and how innovatively their real estate peers are meeting their needs

We look at what and where millennials are buying property and how innovatively their real estate peers are meeting their needs

WORDS: DEBBIE HATHWAY – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

Activity in South Africa’s middle property market (R750,000 to R2,6m) improved the most late last year, driven mainly by first-time buyers taking advantage of competitive pricing, lower transfer duties, and interest rates at a half-century low. “First-time homebuyers – including millennials – account for almost 50.95% of home loans during the fourth quarter of 2020, according to home loan provider ooba,” says Andrew Golding, chief executive, Pam Golding Property group.

Many with young families want to acquire freehold homes with outdoor space in more affordable, peripheral areas or suburbs – especially as many now work from home. In Mzuri residential development in Somerset West, for example, developers have reworked their 132 one and two-bedroom apartment offering to 84 two bedroom row houses. They are pet friendly and have small, enclosed gardens. Prices start at R1,595m. Golding says buyers are also still renting or buying sectional title apartments in urban growth nodes, particularly in mixed-use developments that offer amenities.

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Gauteng opportunities

Gauteng is a top choice for buyers looking for affordable properties with access to amenities. Up to 40% of buyers in the Protea Glen area are millennials, says Khosi Sibiya and Phindile Mphahlele, managing directors, Seeff Soweto. The popular price band here is R400,000 to R700,000. Prices start at R500,000 for sectional title properties in the Randburg suburbs of Weltevreden Park, Allens Nek and Olivedale, while Midrand offers great value for those working in Johannesburg, Sandton, Midrand or Pretoria. Prices in Glen Austin start at R400,000 with townhouses and houses in Noordwyk priced from R700,000.

Apartments are ideal for first time buyers, says Charles Vining, MD, Seeff Sandton. There are apartments and townhouses selling for R600,000 to R800,000 in Paulshof, Douglasdale and Lonehill. For R100,000 more, buyers can look to Buccleuch, Sunninghill and Broadacres. Sectional title property is also drawing interest from buy-to-let investors, given the high demand for rental accommodation near the Sandton CBD. Popular suburbs in Centurion include Centurion West, The Reeds and Die Hoewes. The latter offers units priced from R545,000.

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Micro apartments

BlackBrick has developed a model that combines real estate ownership with hospitality. “The concept was born out of my own need for a more fluid lifestyle,” says Blackbrick director Moritz Wellensiek. “BlackBrick has been designed to provide a solution for a multi city lifestyle, which is a growing need in a digital economy, and to give people value in location and opportunity. We’re the world’s first residential members’ club that offers facilities such as multiple co-working spaces, private boardrooms, a boxing gym, yoga boma, cinema, rooftop bar, cafés, Mini ride sharing and more.”

With entry-level pricing at R895,000 for a luxury micro apartment in Cape Town’s CBD, the proposition is accessible to first-time buyers with a deposit of R20,000. Urban property developer Blok designed SIX ON N, an 87-apartment development on prestigious Norfolk Road in Sea Point, Cape Town, with millennials in mind. Says Blok’s MD Jacques van Embden, “We’ve seen that while the private spaces in which we live are becoming increasingly more compact to retain affordability and flexibility, shared amenities and better community spaces are becoming a greater feature in people’s buying decisions and lifestyle choices.”

While some of the apartments are compact (starting from 20m2), they’re designed to make use of the available space. Prices start at R1,1m. Evo Properties, a sales and letting property brokerage and property development consultancy run by a three-man team all younger than 30 years, has four new developments in the pipeline, one of which is a 21 unit micro-apartment block going up in Woodstock’s Cavendish Square. The company will retain full ownership and rent out the apartments. The team is also working on a new affordable housing development called The Archive in Observatory, where a 30m2 apartment will sell at R799,999.

The company’s track record includes the full consulting, management and sales of Urban Artisan Apartments, the 51-unit residential and retail development close to Woodstock’s Biscuit Mill. Digital marketing has driven their development of a database of postgraduate students and young working professionals wanting to buy or rent. Facebook and Instagram remain the top platforms, but they also see plenty of traffic through their website and a first-to-market online apartment reservation system. If tenants see an apartment they’d like to rent, they can reserve it that way.

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